Archive for December, 2009

Cleveland Minister Shocked by New Year’s Revelry

December 30, 2009

New Year Celebration 1910-1915

Image from The Rabbit Hole USA.


Cleveland Minister Sees New Year In At Cafes.

Cleveland, Jan. 1 —

“I am shocked. The faces of women drinkers look like masks.” The Rev. George Hugh Birney, pastor of Euclid Avenue Methodist Church, so declared today after a personal observation tour of New Year revelries in Cleveland cafes and grill rooms.

In one cafe a young girl bounced a toy balloon off the head of the Rev. Mr. Birney. He declined to buy her a drink.

“Her feet were too far under the table,” he explained.

The clergyman joined in singing “It’s a Long Way To Tipperary” and “Auld Lang Syne” in another cafe. His voice mingled with those who had celebrated all evening.

“It was an orgy,” he said after the tour. “I shall tell my parishioners all about.”

The Frederick Post (Frederick, Maryland) Jan 2, 1915

Robert Burns: Auld Lang Syne

December 29, 2009

For the Ohio Repository



Dear BURNS, till earth itself decline,
And nature fades away,
The mystic powers of auld lang syne,
Thy genius shall portray;
Thy genius shall portray, my dear,
Thy genius shall portray,

The mystic, &c.

Oh, yes! each feeling, magic line,
Shall swell the grateful soul,
And while we sing of auld lang syne,
We’ll grasp the friendly bowl;

We’ll grasp, &c.

We’ll drink, the friend, not cool by time,
We’ll drink the friend of soul,
We’ll drink to thee, to auld lang syne,
We’ll drain the social bowl;

We’ll drain &c.

Oh, could I reach thy friendly hand,
And could’st thou but reach mine;
We’d take a cordial, social glass,
For auld lang syne;

For auld lang syne, &c.

But fare thee well, if thou art blest,
Thy friends need not repine;
But sometimes give a kindly thought,
To auld lang syne;

To auld lang syne, &c.

Ohio Repository (Canton, Ohio) Apr 1, 1825

Has another public idol fallen? Was Burns a plagiarist are the important questions that are agitating the literary world. Burns has ever been regarded as one of the most original poets but according to Henley & Henderson’s newly published volume, out of 509 of his songs, 158 were appropriated or derived from other and older ballads. Spare forbids me to give many examples, but take the popular “Old Lang Syne.” Burns’ version reads:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And ne’er be brought to mind;
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And the days of auld lang syne.
Chorus —
For auld lang syne, my dear,
Auld lang syne,
We’ll tak’ a cup of kindness yet
For the days of auld lang syne.”

An old English ballad extant many years anterior to Burns’ birth reads as follows:

Should old acquaintance be forgot
And never thought upon
The Flames of Love extinguished
And freely passed and gone;
Is thy kind Heart now grown so cold
In that Boving Breast of thine,
That thou can’st never once reflect
On old lang syne.
Chorus —
On old lang syne,
On old lang syne,
On old lang syne,
That thou can’st never once reflect
On old lang syne.

In the Scotch vernacular “auld” means “old,” and “lang” means “long.” There are many other so glaring resemblance in verse and sentiment that while we must admit that Burns’ version is an improvement on the old song we cannot resist the impression that his supposed original songs are simply parodies of old ballads he heard or read in his native land.

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Feb 6, 1898

Interesting discussion of the song in:

Title:    Annual Burns chronicle and club directory, Issues 13-16
Authors:    Robert Burns, Burns Federation
Publisher:    D. Brown, 1904
Original from:    Harvard University

“Auld Lang Syne” starts on page 89. (Google Book link)

Alexander Graham Bell: Music To Your Ears

December 29, 2009

Alexander G. Bell (Image from

Music by Telegraph.

[From the Boston Traveller.]

The readers of the Traveller have been made acquainted with the wonderful inventions of Professor Bell, by which musical and vocal sounds can be and have been sent over the electric wires, but few if any are aware of the wonderful results which are sure to follow these improvements in telegraphy.

A few nights ago Professor Bell was in communication with a telegraphic operator in New York, and commenced experimenting with one of his inventions pertaining to the transmission of musical sounds. He made use of his phonetic organ and played the tune of “America,” and asked the operator in New York what he heard.

“I hear the tune of America,” replied New York; “give us another.”

Professor Bell then played Auld Lang Syne.

“What do you hear now?”

“I hear the tune of Auld Lang Syne, with the full chords, distinctly,” replied New York.

Thus, the astounding discovery has been made that a man can play upon musical instruments in New York, New Orleans, or London, or Paris, and be heard distinctly in Boston! If this can be done, why can not distinguished performers execute the most artistic and beautiful music in Paris, and an audience assemble in Music Hall, Boston, to listen?

Professor Bell’s other improvement, namely, the transmission of the human voice, has become so far perfected that persons have conversed over one thousand miles of wire with perfect ease, although as yet the vocal sounds are not loud enough to be heard by more than one or two persons. But if the human voice can now be sent over the wire, and so distinctly that when two or three known parties are telegraphing, the voices of each can be recognized, we may soon have distinguished men delivering speeches in Washington, New York or London, and audiences assembled in Music Hall, or Faneull Hall, to listen!

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jul 29, 1876


View Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers on the Library of Congress website.

YesterYear for Christmas

December 22, 2009

Thomas Nast illustration, Harper's Weekly

Image from Cannonba!! at York Blog (local history section)



We are waiting, brother, patiently awaiting
To feel thy fond, fond kiss upon our cheek;
And breathe the welcome words we fain would speak
To thee — the hero, who the tide of battle
Strong, hast breasted since the last time greeting.
We are waiting, patiently awaiting.

We are waiting, brother, hopefully awaiting,
Within our dear old home the childhood light
Is burning cheerily for thee to-night.
Seasons are weary since our New Year parting,
And changes many since our last fond meeting.
We are waiting, hopefully awaiting.

We are waiting, brother, anxiously awaiting,
Ever through the long, long night we’re pining.
Thou comest not while stars are sweetly shining,
Nor yet at morning in the glory light.
And when the sunshine and the day is waning
We are waiting, anxiously awaiting.

We are waiting, brother, tearfully awaiting,
White as snow, thy mother’s cheek is failing
While listening to the chill wind wailing.
The Christmas hearth-lights burn but dimly — faintly!
Cold dew-damps gather fast, and hope is dying.
We are waiting, tearfully awaiting.

Hark! hear the watch dog bark! we are not waiting!
We hear a manly voice so soft and tender —
We raise our own to meet thy dark eyes splendor —
That heart beat — then Christmas chime is sweeter,
Lights are brighter and the hearth stone, glowing.
Thank God! we are not waiting, vainly waiting.

Yes, we are waiting, hopelessly awaiting.
A messenger came with that cruel letter:
Be patient, mother dear. I am not coming;
No leave of absence yet — no home returning.”
For me no Christmas chimes, no hearth light burning.
Only waiting, hopelessly awaiting.

Dear brother, through this agony of waiting,
“While the old year lies a dying” — waiting!
Other forms we love may come without thee!
Thy vacant place, ah! none can fill it!
Thy voice is silent — again to hear it!
God grant we may not thus be ever waiting!

SALLIE J. HANCOCK, of Kentucky.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 9, 1864

From the Wilkesbarre Democrat.


Turkies! who on Christmas bled,
Turkies! who on corn have fed,
Welcome to us now you’re dead,
And in the frost have hung.

“Now’s the day and now’s the hour,”
Through the market how we scour,
Seeking Turkies to devour,
Turkies old and young.

Who would be a Turkey hen;
Fed and fatten’d in a pen —
Kill’d and ate by hungry men; —
Can you tell, I pray?

Lay the proud old Turkies low,
Let the young ones run and grow,
To market they’re not fit to go,
Till next Christmas day.

The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Dec 27, 1831


Let this day see all wrongs forgiven,
Let peace sit crowned in every heart;
Let bitter words be left unsaid,
Let each one take his brother’s part;
Let sad eyes learn again to smile, —
A day is such a little while, —
Of all days this the shortest!

Let rich and poor together meet,
While words of kindness fill the air;
Let love spread roses in the way,
Though winter reigneth everywhere;
Let us know naught of craft or guile,
A day is such a little while, —
Of all days this the shortest!

Let us help, each with loving care,
Our brothers on the way to Heaven;
Let’s lay aside all selfishness;
Let pride from every heart be driven,
Let Christmas-day bring many a smile, —
A day is such a little while, —
Of all days this the shortest.

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Dec 22, 1880

The Christmas Jubilee.

We can almost hear the chiming
Of the joyous Christmas bells;
Almost feel the mirth and gladness
That the Christmas tide foretells.
We can almost hear the echo
From Judea’s distant plain;
Almost hear the bursts of music
That will float in sweet refrain.

Everywhere in expectation
Hearts are beating with delight,
And in childhood’s happy kingdom
Every eye is beaming bright.
Soon the dawn will be upon us
As from out the night it wells,
And the earth will hear the music
Of the merry Christmas bells.

Soon the wondrous star of glory
Will illume the Eastern sky,
And the angel bands of heaven
Will sing paeans from on high.
Soon the story of the manger
Will be heard throughout the earth,
And each heart will leap with gladness
O’er a loving Savior’s birth.

Soon the chiming bells of Christmas
Will be ringing sweet and clear,
Pealing forth the joyful message
To all nations, far and near.
Soon the lofty dome of heaven
Will resound with music sweet,
As the bells of earth exultingly
The old-time song repeat.

Hail we then the joyful Christmas —
Happiest time of all the year —
With its sweet and ringing music,
With its mirth and boundless cheer.
Every lip is singing praises;
Every fireside rings with glee;
Every heart is shouting “welcome!”
To the Christmas jubilee.

— G.C. RHODERICK, JR., in Middletown Register.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Dec 21, 1891

Yule-Tide in Many Lands

by Mary P. Pringle and Clara A. Urann 1916

Chapter IXYule-Tide in America

Insane Christmas: Who’s The Crazy One Here?

December 21, 2009
Norther Hospital-Wisconsin (Image from

Northern Hospital - WI (Image from

**The crazy is below the spider web image.



A Description in Detail of the Christmas Tree and Entertainment Given the Insane at the Northern Hospital — The Beautiful Decorations — The Pleasure of the Patients — Dr. Pember’s “Cobwebs” — A Fine Institution.

The Northern Hospital on Christmas Eve was the scene of the most enjoyable festivities, the occasion being the annual Christmas tree and entertainment given the patients of the institution. For some weeks previous to the festivities Dr. Wiggington and his assistants had been buying presents and also receiving them from friends and relatives of the patients throughout the state, and had spared no pains in arranging every part of the entertainment in detail so that when Christmas eve arrived all of the patients were on the eve of expectation for the concert and the distribution of the presents. At about 7 o’clock the patients marched from their different wards to the music of the orchestra and were seated in the chapel. This room presented a remarkably beautiful appearance.

Wisconsin Christmas Tree 1895

Image from the Wisconsin Historical Society

Near the north end of the room stood the large Christmas tree, which, as well as the platform near by, was heavily laden with presents many of which were rich and costly. Extending from the tree to every corner of the room were drapings of evergreens and arranged on these were fancy candles which when lighted added not a little to the beauty of the scene. Previous to the distribution of the presents a musical program was rendered by the attendants and orchestra which the patients evidently enjoyed thoroughly for they were not backward in expressing their appreciation at times by applause. But their greatest delight was manifested when Dr. Wiggington announced that the presents would be distributed. With very few exceptions the faces of all lighted up with signs of most intense interest and anxiety and if any one thinks an insane person is not capable of appreciating kindness and work done in his behalf he is greatly mistaken. The tree contained everything, from a cornucopia to a gold watch, and the poor fellow who got nothing but the former was apparently just as much pleased as she who was made the recipient of the latter. Men over sixty years of age appeared as pleased over the presentation of a simple gift as the little boy of four who received his box of nine-pins. Many of the patients, however, received articles of wearing apparel and two, Mrs. West and Miss Brodie, each received a gold watch and chain.

Really, this next part makes me wonder if Dr. Pember worked at the hospital, or was an inmate there!

Another present worthy of mention was an elegant box of cobwebs received by Dr. Pember who was made the victim of a good joke which many of the patients as well as attendants enjoyed. It appears that the doctor has a great habit of going around the building and upsetting chairs, tables, etc., in search of cobwebs for which it is alleged he has a great abhorrence. As a sort of a take off on his pet pleasure the attendants gathered some cobwebs and gave the doctor a carefully packed box of them.

Miss Fannie Brown, the pianist, who officiated at the entertainment, received some of Chopin’s music, copies of Beethoven’s Sonatas and a book entitled, “The Organ of Home.” Others who kindly assisted in providing entertainment received presents of more or less value, and were made to fell happy and at home. It is estimated that in all about $700 worth of presents were distributed. Messrs. Brightrall, Roberts and Anderson, the gentlemen supervisors, and Misses Mitchell, Schultz and Casey, the lady supervisors, Harry Baum, the druggist, T.J. Vaughn, the steward, Mr. Neville, the warden, Miss Hale, the matron, Dr. Wiggington and his amiable wife and every officer and attendant connected with the institution deserve a deal of credit for the work which they certainly must have done to make the entertainment a success. One thing is noticeable at the hospital and that is the kindly feeling which all of the patients have for Dr. and Mrs. Wigginton, and judging from the Christmas entertainment the inmates may well cherish in their hearts a deal of respect for the head officer of the institution as well as his worthy wife both of whom make the Northern hospital a place that must, to the unfortunate person deprived of his reason, seem like “Home Sweet Home.”

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Dec 26, 1885

Northern Wisconsin Hospital for the Insane

From the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services website:

Winnebago Mental Health Institute (WMHI) is located on the scenic west shore of Lake Winnebago, four miles north of Oshkosh.  The purchase price for the original 338 acres of land was $26,000.  Construction of the Northern Hospital for the Insane (now WMHI) began in 1871.  The first patient was admitted on April 21, 1873.  The original building was completed on November 11, 1875, with the capacity of 500 beds.

See What You Started, Mr. Dickens?

December 20, 2009

Christmas Presents.

Mr. Dickens labored hard to convince the world that at this time of year there is only one unfailing test of a man’s character. If he is a good man, he will give away a large quantity of presents. If he is a bad one, he will despise all the amenities of the season, and avenging ghosts will scare him out of his wits on Christmas Eve. This method of trying the depths of one’s moral depravity is scarcely more conclusive than the natives have in some parts of India of detecting a thief.

They bring up all the suspected persons in a row, and give to each a handful of rice to chew. If the rice comes out of the mouth wet, the accused is pronounced innocent. If it should be dry, the unlucky chewer is condemned without further ceremony.

Mr. Dickens’ device for analyzing character is fallacious, for there are some people still alive who have no money and no friends, and under those circumstances it is extremely hard to come up to the proper standard. It is an established principle that everybody shall be free-handed and “merry” at Christmas, although a certain proportion of the human species is absolutely incapacitated from complying with either condition. And even when a man is willing and ready to distribute good gifts among friends, who never appreciate him so well as at that moment of generosity, it is not easy to choose the right thing for the right person. The newspapers very kindly make themselves into so many hand books on the subject, but the lavishness of their suggestions, and that superb indifference to expense which is a glorious attribute of the modern journalist, are sometimes apt to render their guidance somewhat embarrassing to all but millionaires.

Like everything else, the art of choosing presents cannot be acquired without time or trouble. Some people will, of course, take anything they can get, and be thankful, but the truly appreciative person is not to be “pleased with a rattle” or “tickled with a straw.” We all know men and women who will go and buy for a trifling sum an article which is sure to be prized by the recipient far beyond more costly gifts. The reason simply is that it has been selected with some attention to the tastes of the person for whom it was destined. The ideas of most people run in conventional channels on the subject.

A popular young lady, for instance, would tell us that the larger part of the presents made to her are very much of the same kind. Her admirers all go in a beaten track. No doubt it is one of the hardest things in the world to give anything to a spoiled child of fortune which somebody else has not given her before. But there is no absolute necessity to make a run on scent bottles, albums, writing desks and boxes of candies.

The other sex suffer in a similar degree from the poverty of invention among present givers. A man who is lucky enough to be a favorite gets as many smoking caps as if he were an idol with a hundred heads, and slippers enough to open a shoe shop with. They are among the articles which no really sagacious person would ever dream of giving away; for, in the first place, an embroidered smoking cap makes most men look extremely miserable and ridiculous, and home-made slippers are generally very uncomfortable.

A very little trouble would enable any one, male or female, to choose a gift which would be neither hackneyed nor common place — and in default of everything else, a good book is seldom thrown away, and it is likely to be preserved when most other objects are out of date or forgotten.

To children Christmas is really what it has ceased to be to most of their seniors, and for their sakes alone it would be well worth while to keep up the innocent delusion that the whole world is full of rejoicing at this particular season. But even in deciding upon a gift for a child, there is room for a wise discrimination. Some people go upon the simple theory that the more noise a toy makes the more pleasure it will afford. They would turn every house into a sort of beer garden.

Children now-a-days are not quite so young as children were in old-fashioned times, and their toys are made to match. A harmless bag of sawdust or bran used to do duty for the inside of a doll, but now there is an elaborate machinery for making the plaything utter unearthly noises or cry when it is laid down, or squeak something which is intended for “mama” and “papa.” Moreover, the doll must be dressed up like a lady, and its owner puts it to bed in full panoply, or is too knowing to put it to bed at all. Then there animals given to children must all make noises after their kind. The hideous uproar that goes on in some houses in consequence, passes all belief. Formerly, children were very glad to have wooden animals which open not their mouths. Now the sheep must bleat and the donkey bray loud enough to rouse a village. The old Noah’s Ark, or the menagerie, or the wonderful box of games gave quite as much pleasure in their day, but the world is not so foolish now, and naturally they toy-makers have tried to keep progress with the rest of us.

The reality of Santa Claus, however, is one touch of romance still left to the children, and it is productive of more delight to them than any of our modern inventions. Every child values a toy more when she has written to Santa Claus for it, and put the letter up the chimney, and received the answer in due time through the same convenient post-office. All our “Pneumatic dispatches” and underground railroads cannot equal the chimney as a mode of communication between Santa Claus and his young friends. It is to be hoped that this remnant of old-world fables will be allowed to linger for some time yet, for it forms one of the household traditions which soften the memory of childhood in the year when all seasons become pretty much alike, and when great pleasures are chiefly matters of recollection. The charming custom of children giving presents, no matter how trifling, to their parents, is another of our possessions which we should be sorry to see laughed out of existence by practiced philosophers.

Titusville Morning Herald (Titusville, Pennsylvania) Dec 23, 1870

The Old Latch-String

December 19, 2009


How dear to my heart is the home of my childhood,
A clap-board roofed cabin half hidden from view
Where I grew like a weed springing up on the wildwood,
And clung to the home which had sprung up there, too;
The old lean-to kitchen, the smoke-house beside it,
The straw-stack with shelter of thatch covered o’er —
The ash-hopper near, where the wood-shed could hide it,
And e’en the rude latch-string which hung on the door;
The old-fashioned latch-string,
The brown faded latch-string,
The long leather latch-string
Which hung on the door!

That latch-string! how often when hungry and jaded
I grasped it quite carefully lest it should catch;
For I knew it was rotten as well as quite faded,
So I pulled it down gently, to lift up the latch;
The noon meal was ready — how quickly I seized it —
A bowl full of mush with sweet milk brimming o’er.
Not a full-blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
When I’d pulled the old latch-string which hung on the door;
The old-fashioned latch-string,
The brown faded latch-string,
The long leather latch-string
Which hung on the door!

The shot-pouch I carried (me thinks I still see it)
And the same frisky squirrel that pestered my soul,
As I shouldered my flint-lock and hastened to tree it,
But alas, it fled from me and hid in a hole.
The old weedy cow yard still fondly I view it,
And the path, with tall horse-nettles thickly grown o’er,
How I scratched my bare feet every time I ran through it,
To reach the old latch-string which hung on the door;
The old-fashioned latch-string,
The brown faded latch-string,
The long leather latch-string
Which hung on the door!

And when far away I had strayed from that dwelling,
Returning, I hailed it with many a shout,
For I knew at a glance — ’twas a signal unfailing —
That the folks were at home when the latch-string was out.
— But the dreams have all faded, which fondly I cherished,
When barefoot I romped on the old puncheon floor;
And the clap-board roofed cabin itself has nigh perished,
As well as the latch-string which hung on the door;
The old-fashioned latch-string,
The brown faded latch-string,
The long leather latch-string
Which hung on the door!

The spring-branch still runs at the foot of the meadow
Where we cut the tall clover and pastured our flocks.
But the harvest-time held o’er my life a dark shadow —
For I hated to “cradle,” and pile up the shocks;
And now, when removed from that loved situation,
The tears of regret will intrusively pour
As fancy reverts to the old habitation,
And sighs for the latch-string which hung on the door;
The old-fashioned latch-string,
The brown faded latch-string,
The long leather latch-string
Which hung on the door!

Helen Whitney Clark, in St. Louis Magazine.

Spirit Lake Beacon (Spirit Lake, Iowa) Sep 14, 1888

Curious Wreath

December 18, 2009


A wreath is exhibited at a fair in Gloucester, Mass., this Christmas week, that is composed of the hair of one hundred different residents of that town, none of whom is under seventy years of age, while ten of them are over ninety, and one of them is a centenarian. The lady who made it is fifty, and has been four years about it.

The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jan 5, 1864

Prayer and Our Founding Fathers

December 18, 2009

This is from 1888. I had no idea this argument had been going on for so long:


Showing That the Founders of Our Government Were God-Fearing and Praying Men.

It seems as easy to believe bad things about a body of men, as it is to believe them about one man. Indeed, it is somewhat easier. For, if there is even a small portion of charity in our make-up, we will exercise it in favor of one whom we are afraid to slander, whereas we will receive and repeat the same story about a congregation, a convention, or a congress without fear or qualm. And if it is a body of dead men, their reputations are absolutely at our mercy. The classic exhortation, to speak nothing about the dead but praise, is rarely heeded after the first burst of post-mortem eulogy.

It is quite the custom for instance, to think and say that the members of the Continental Congress were not devout men, that they had no regard for prayer as an aid to their deliberations, that they did not take God into the account in discussing the measures and results of the revolution. This is an offense to all believers in a gracious Providence, and it is also a foul libel on the political fathers.

We are gratified, therefore, to note that the learned Judge Bacon, of Utica, N.Y., in a recent historical paper of great general value, has corrected this false and unjust estimate of the Continental Congress. He shows how, on the 7th of September, 1774, when the real business of the body was to begin, a formal request was made for an opening prayer by Rev. Mr. Duche and that gentleman was thanked by resolution for his “excellent” services.

This is more consideration than some modern assemblies show to the divine who invoke God’s blessing on their deliberations. Afterward that same Congress, at ten different times, appointed days for fasting and thanksgiving. The last order of that kind was voted late in October, 1781, when December 15 was declared a day for thanksgiving and prayer on account of Cornwallis’ final overthrow.

When that order was entered, a further evidence of devotion was given by Congress going in a body to the Dutch Lutheran church in Philadelphia, there “to return thanks to Almighty God for crowning the allied armies of the United States and France with success, by the surrender of the whole British army under the command of the Earl Cornwallis.”

Now let the reader call these historic facts to mind, the next time he hears it said that the founders of our Government were not God-fearing men; or that the foundations of the Republic were not laid in prayer.


Spirit Lake Beacon (Spirit Lake, Iowa) Sep 14, 1888

More on the First Prayer in Congress HERE

*Note: I am not affiliated with the above website, I just ran across it when looking for an image and noticed they had more on this topic.

A Huntingdon Co., PA Centenarian

December 18, 2009


Mrs. Beigle of Altoona Born Sept. 17, 1834, In Franklin Twp.

A native Huntingdon countian today became a centenarian.

Jane Elizabeth Beigle, the widow of Abram Irwin, a highly respected citizen of Bellwood, was born in Franklin township, Huntingdon county, September 17, 1834, and hence today is 100 years old. She is in excellent health and retains the use of all her faculties except that of sight which has been failing of late years. She is contented and happy and never tires of telling how good and kind God has been to her during all her life. She is a living exemplification of the promise to the godly.

Her parents were William and Margaret Beigle. She was married in 1884. Her husband died Sept. 6, 1920, and she now makes her home with her grandson, Avery Irvin, at Bellwood.

No special celebration marks the occasion today. The W.C.T.U. met with her this afternoon for a short service. Relatives and friends also called to extend felicitations.
She received her early education in the public schools of Huntingdon county and at Bucknell university, Lewisburg, where she was graduated in 1857.

A studious nature and a love for children especially fitted her for school teaching, so she began her life work in that profession at a little country school at Spruce Creek, where she spent several winter.

Then, a more difficult place at Warriors Mark awaited her where she taught the following five years. About this time, during the closing period of the Civil war, a great need had sprung up in the south for teachers to work among the freed Negroes, and she at once offered her services to the American Baptist mission board and was accepted and sent to Murfreesboro, Tenn.

After three years of hard work and endurance of the intense heat, she contracted yellow fever. This made it necessary for her to come home for a short period of rest and recuperation, but she again returned to her duties, this time being sent to Columbus, Ga., and later into Alabama. The entire amount of her teaching work in the south covered a period of twenty years.

Besides being a school teacher, she was an enthusiastic church and Sunday school worker, having a class in the church school as long as she was able to attend.

Baptized into membership of the Logan Valley Baptist church in Bellwood on April 10, 1853, by Rev. A.K. Bell, she has “kept the faith” for more than eighty years.

She is also an interested and devoted member of the Women’s Christian Temperance union, being the oldest member in Blair county, the organization which is today celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) Sep 17, 1934


Mrs. Jane E. Irwin, Bellwood, Oldest Alumna of Bucknell

Mrs. Jane Elizabeth Beigle Irwin, a native of Huntingdon county and one of the states oldest residents, passed away at the home of her grandson, Avery Irwin, in Bellwood, on Friday forenoon, December 27, at 11:10 o’clock. Mrs. Irwin observed her 101 st birthday anniversary on September 17, 1935…..

[The rest of the obituary repeated much of what is in the above article.]

Daily News (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) Dec 28, 1935

About her husband, Abram Irwin and his family:

Twentieth Century History of Altoona and Blair County,
Pennsylvania, and Representative Citizens
Sell, Jesse C.Chicago, IL: Richmond-Arnold,
1911, pp. 559-561. [Posted on]

ABRAM R. IRWIN, who has been a resident of Bellwood, Pa., since 1875, was for forty years engaged in farming in Blair County, Pa. He was born on what is now the Wentzell farm below Hensheystown, Pa., March 9, 1832, a son of Daniel and Catherine (Crain) Irwin, and is a direct descendant of one Jared Irwin, who came from Ireland about the time of the advent of William Penn. It is said that Jared Irwin bought the land of Penn, where Philadelphia now stands, and the family branched out to various parts of the country, many becoming prominent and useful citizens. Jared Irwin married into the royal Stuart family and had a family before coming to this country. One Jared Irwin became second governor of the state of Georgia, and the branch from which our subject’s family sprang, settled in the vicinity of York, Pa. The grandfather of our subject was named Jared, as also was his great grandfather. The name seems to occur in all branches of the family, indicating that the Irwins in all this country generally are descendants of this original Jared Irwin.

Jared Irwin, grandfather of our subject, lived in Huntingdon County, Pa.
Daniel Irwin, father of Abram R., was born in Huntingdon County, Pa.,
and was for some years located in the vicinity of Tyrone. About 1833 he
bought the farm now owned by the heirs of Frank Irwin, and resided in Gospel Hollow until the time of his death at the age of sixty-eight years. He was survived some years by his widow, who in maiden life was Catherine Crain.

Daniel and Catherine Crain reared the following children: Belinda, now deceased, who married Abram McCartney; Adie Crain Irwin, deceased: Evaline, deceased, who married Joseph Adlum; John, deceased; and Abram R., who is the only survivor.

Abram R. Irwin was reared on the homestead and attended the common
schools of the township. He began working on the farm at a very early age,
and was glad to be allowed twenty-five cents a year to attend the review in
Sinking Valley. He ultimately received a part of the home farm retiring in
1875, and moving to Bellwood, where he bought four or five lots on First Street and built a home. He then entered the employ of the Bell’s Gap
Railroad, and worked as rodman in laying out the roads from Lloydsville to
Coalport. He later ran on the road for some time as baggage master, being
with the company some ten or fifteen years. In 1881 Mr. Irwin bought a square of land and built his present home on the corner of Third and Martin streets. He also has three other houses and several lots left, and a son of his also owns six lots of this square.

On January 17, 1854, Mr. Irwin married Betanna S. Hileman, who was born
near Frankstown and died February 1, 1874. They had the following children:  Howard, born November 16, 1854, who lives in Depew, N.Y.; Isadora Blanche, born December 13, 1856, who is the widow of John Mingle and lives in Sinking Valley; Harry Hudson, born October 8, 1858, who lives on the home farm, in which his father still has an interest; Jessie Kate, born March 17, 1861, who married James Campbell, of Bellwood; George Brinton McClellan, born June 20, 1863, who lives in Gadsden, Alabama; Rose Leslie, born October 20, 1867, who is the wife of William Stafford and resides near Davenport, Iowa; Fred Bennett, born October 30, 1869, who lives near Davenport, Iowa; Hester Bell, born March 22, 1872, and now deceased, who was the wife of Clyde Greenland; Rebecca Hileman, born October 22, 1873, who married Harry Laird of Bellwood.

Mr. Irwin formed a second matrimonial union with Catherine Gwin, who is now deceased. On October 23, 1884 he was united in marriage with Jane Elizabeth Beigle, who was born September 17, 1835 in Franklin County, Pa. Mrs. Irwin is highly educated and was for about twenty years engaged in missionary work in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. She belongs to the Baptist church, Mr. Irwin being a member of the Presbyterian church.  The latter has charge of the Logan Valley Cemetery, serving as secretary.  he was for many years a Democrat but votes independently, voting for the man rather than for the party, and other things being equal, favoring prohibition candidates.